Beautiful sets let down by shocking health and safety standards
Before we get into it, this isn’t a review of the film. I’m going to review the actual escape room element of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. Mostly for giggles.
If there’s one thing I’ve always said about escape rooms, it’s that the stakes are too low.
So what, if we don’t finish the puzzles in 60 minutes we “won’t get out”.
Yeah right. I know you’ve got customers coming in the next 30 minutes so I’m getting out, one way or another.
So, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was definitely intriguing. Something with a hint of danger? Count me in!
Six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive.
Joining forces with two of the original survivors, they soon discover they’ve all played the game before.
The most immediate thing you notice about this room is that the production value is insane. Probably the most immersive looking game I’ve seen in a long time.
From the moment you step into the first room, you’re completely transported. The attention to detail is incredible too.
There’s a heavy use of tech in this game as well. There’s some next-level stuff going on here. Think lasers, hologram technology, the works. It’s quite light on the locks, so if you’re a fan of old-school escape games you might be a little disappointed there. But there are quite a few cinematic moments to make you feel like you’re in your own action movie.
There’s not a great deal of narrative beyond the ‘put a bunch of people together in with some deadly puzzles and see how they get on’ – that single hook does most of the heavy lifting throughout the game.
There’s some attempt at an overarching story but each room was pretty much self-contained with in a general ‘New York’ aesthetic. The story needed to be spelled out towards the endgame for everything to finally click into place.
As you might expect from a game of this kind, the flow of each room is pretty linear. There were plenty of instances that required the group to split up and acquire separate pieces of information, so it wasn’t all that common for players to be standing about.
The game is quite effective at driving players forward with creative (but downright dangerous – see below) methods of maintaining momentum. There’s not much space for downtime in this game.
There was at least one instance in each game where outside knowledge was required. Luckily, each player just happened to have the relevant information memorised and could continue without a great deal of impediment.
Signposting for the most part was done quite well, being cryptic enough to be challenging without leading players into frustration – there was very little (if any) time spent in furrowed-brow concentration. Though there were definitely one or two leaps of logic required, especially towards the end.
I wouldn’t say that the puzzles were particularly challenging per se, but the added danger of possible death definitely ups the stakes a little.
Let’s address the elephant in the room here. The health and safety standards of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions are appalling, and should be thoroughly looked at.
There’s high stakes, and there’s losing a significant percentage of your group to what I can only assume are faulty mechanisms and a complete disregard for risk assessments.
There was no hint system in sight, either. I don’t know if this was an intended feature or just lazy GMing, but I didn’t see any GM interaction with the players. There wasn’t even a pre-game briefing, which was good for immersion but terrible customer care.
If you’re after a truly immersive experience and aren’t particularly worried about the consequences of failure, then it might be worth your while playing this game.
If, however, you value your life and don’t particularly fancy being killed or maimed, then maybe just watch other people play it.
There’s a spoiler-filled walkthrough of the game currently playing in cinemas, so you can play vicariously in a comfortable armchair.
Escape room: Tournament of Champions
Designed by Adam Robitel, Christine Lavaf, Fritz Bohm, Will Honley, Maria Melnik, Daniel Tuch, Oren Uziel, Edward Thomas
Duration: 1hr 28minutes
Requirements: Popcorn, drink of choice, hotdog (optional)
Date played: 17 July 2011
Time to finish: 1 hr 28 mins
Recommended playlist: Just listen to the film